Tigers’ Cairns home a boost for Suns

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna says the Suns are five goals better off playing Richmond in Cairns than if the Tigers hosted Saturday’s AFL match at the MCG.

It is the second of a three-year deal for Richmond to host a game in Cairns.

Last year it proved disastrous for the Tigers, as the Suns notched an upset win which virtually destroyed Richmond’s finals hopes.

Bottom-placed Gold Coast have not won a game since.

But as the Suns trained at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns on Friday, McKenna said the venue invoked pleasant memories which would boost his team.

“The boys feel comfortable, they know the surroundings and they know this is the scene of our last win,” McKenna told reporters.

“I’m sure they’ve probably got a spring in their step.”

McKenna said he would be happy to play Richmond in Cairns every year.

“It’s fantastic for us,” the Suns coach said.

“When their contract expires, depending on what they want to do, we’d certainly be keen to pick that up, because an AFL initiative like that here in Cairns is fantastic for AFL football.

“It’s in our own backyard, so we’re happy to come up here.

“We’re happy to play Richmond up here, because if we had a choice between Cairns and the MCG, with the Richmond faithful there, I know we’re probably five goals better off up here.”

Helping the Suns’ mood is the return of 2010 No.1 draft pick David Swallow, out since round seven with a knee injury.

With Michael Rischitelli, Jarrod Harbrow and Campbell Brown having all returned from injury to help the Suns push Geelong hard last round, McKenna said Gold Coast’s confidence was growing.

“Hopefully another week together and a bit more chemistry and cohesion, if we get effort who knows what the result could be,” he said

The Suns have also added debutant Josh Hall, who fell only fractionally short of qualifying for the London Olympics in high jump.

Hall played his first games of Australian Rules football at any level only last year.

But McKenna said what the 197cm 22-year-old forward lacked in experience, he made up for in enthusiasm.

“Anything in his area he’ll just go for and because of his leap he normally gets his hands on it,” McKenna said.

The Tigers lost Matt White (suspension), but defender Kelvin Moore returns from horrific hip injuries for his first AFL game since 2010.

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